Media release

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Centenary celebrations

06 July 2018

6 July 2018

Programme Director
Members of the IMC present
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen

The Inter-Ministerial Committee met last week Friday, 29 June 2018 and we are delighted to share the upcoming activities and progress report on the implementation of the Comprehensive National Programme for the centenary of both of two of our struggle icons, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela under the theme: “Be the legacy”, as well as Mama Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu under the theme: “A Woman of fortitude.”

These celebrations are a major milestone in the incredible story of both Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu in our nation’s journey to freedom and liberation.

The centenary celebrations of these two icons have a significant impact in bringing diverse South Africans together. These celebrations are meant to highlight the principles and values espoused by these great Africans and to galvanise the spirit of national pride and Ubuntu

It is envisaged that the messages shared through these celebrations will contribute to the removal of obstacles that divide us, as we strive to build upon the many ties that bind us. The objectives of the centenary programme are as follows:

  • To encourage all sectors of the South African population to give an amount of time to make every day a Mandela Day;
  • To use the Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu Centenary Celebration as a vehicle to actively promote social cohesion, nation building and inclusive citizenship;
  • To promote a national identity that celebrates its cultural diversity;
  • To create awareness, through educational programmes, dialogues and public engagements on the importance and relevance of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu’s values and legacy;
  • To promote active participation in the commemoration and celebration of national days by all South Africans.

These objectives are in line with our Constitution, the National Development Plan (NDP), the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and Outcome 14 of the Government Programme of Action (POA) in its entirety, though more specifically, sub-outcome 3, which is “Promoting social cohesion across society through increased interaction across race and class”.

To date, many activities were held to celebrate the legacy of these two freedom fighters. On behalf of government, we thank all those who participated and continue to participate in the centenary events.

Notable activities include the following:

  • On 26 May 2018, the Department of Sports and Recreation paid tribute to Nelson Mandela by dedicating the 2018 Regional Annual Sports Awards to his memory. The department used the event to remind South Africans about Madiba’s love for sports and encouraged them to continue reflecting on his values of transformation and passion.
  • We also acknowledge the Motsepe Foundation for honouring Madiba through a football match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Barcelona FC which was played at Soccer city - FNB Stadium on 05 May 2018.
  • The Department of Basic Education (DBE) had several programmes themed #Mandela100 and #MaSisulu100 and hosted events that included a Youth Dialogue and Africa Day celebration as part of Youth month celebrations. The DBE also partnered with the Motsepe Foundation to host the annual ABC Motsepe South African Schools Choir Eisteddfod (SASCE) at the Rhema Bible Church. The choirs recited the Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa along with the African Union Anthem as well as songs dedicated to our centenarians Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.
  • Sports and Recreation dedicated the 2018 Comrade Marathon to the memory of Nelson Mandela.
  • On the international side, the government of Mauritania on 02 July 2018; renamed the main streets in the capital Nouakchott after Tata Madiba. This initiative provides a clear demonstration of the influence that Madiba continues to have around the continent and the world at large.
  • We also acknowledge all sectors of society, business and the media partners for their contributions in making sure that the centenary’ messages reach the multitudes of South Africans, in particular SABC for a number of Radio and TV programmes and events, including the widely viewed 50 day countdown and Online radio called Radio Mandela, launched on the 4th of July 2018.
  • We thank Multichoice for establishing a Channel for Mandela; Media 24 for launching the 100 Mandela’s campaign and we congratulate the young people nominated. We encourage them to continue pursuing Madiba’s principles in their respective roles in the society.
  • #MandelaFridays: The initiative was introduced to encourage the society at large to commemorate the Nelson Mandela Centenary through social activism and observe every last Friday of the month. We encourage everyone from across the world to join on and show their support for #MandelaFridays on social media platforms.

Mandela Month

This month of July we celebrate the birth of the founding father of our democracy under the theme: “Be The Legacy: Celebrating the birth of a world icon and a life of service”. This year the International Nelson Mandela Day coincides with Madiba’s Centenary and presents us with an opportunities to reflect on his legacy and to continue to honour Mandela’s work for societal liberation.

The 2018 Nelson Mandela Day comes at a critical time in South Africa where we are facing social and economic challenges including the abuse of women and children, high unemployment rate, poverty, crime and corruption.

This Mandela Month is a national call to action for every citizen to play their part in addressing some of the issues in their respective communities. Mandela Day should remain a day of service and it should not lose its essence.

As we approach the day of Tata Madiba’s birth, we encourage all sectors of society to recommit to making the year 2018 be remembered as the time in which transformation gained traction in our beloved country. Not just as a populist slogan but a call to action for doing things differently.

We therefore, call on all sectors of society to ensure the sustainability of Mandela Day initiatives. The 18th of July should not to be isolated for acts of service, let us make Mandela Day about sustainable partnerships. Let us all do our bit to build on the foundation laid by these iconic leaders and make South Africa a better place to live in.

In striving to achieve that, the Inter-Ministerial committee has requested National Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Members of Provincial Executives and Members of Municipal Executive Councils (MMEC) to identify projects and activities for Nelson Mandela centenary month. The updated schedule of activities will be uploaded on government website ( Through these acts of service, it is our considered view that elected public representatives will be doing their part to be the legacy in the communities they visit.

Highlight activities leading to International Mandela Day

There will be many activities taking place as a build up to the 18th July 2018

09 July 2018, Global Citizen Festival Launch: The launch will bring public excitement around the upcoming festival planned for December in celebrating Madiba’s centenary.

09 - 15 July 2018, The National Imbizo Focus Week: Ministers will have outreach activities across different provinces seeking to address service delivery issues and raise awareness about the upcoming centenary celebration

10 July 2018, #100MenMarch against violence of women and children: In the spirit of #ThumaMina, government and various social partners will host a national #100MenMarch in honour of the centenary of Madiba and MamaSisulu. Both these stalwarts committed their lives to the fight for human rights particularly the rights of women and children.

A Special Orchid named after Albertina Sisulu will be unveiled on the 10th of July 2018 by the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, Roodepoort in Johannesburg.

In addition, the Departments will unveil the Sisulu Circle and Bronze Bust (Head and Chest Statue) to mark 15 years since the garden was renamed Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden from Witwatersrand Botanical Garden. The renaming was initiated in 2003 and the garden finally changed its name in 2004

10 - 11 July 2018, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Youth Summit: This event will be hosted by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in partnership with the Department of Tourism and Parliament of South Africa. The Summit deliberations will focus on social justice, social entrepreneurship, domestic tourism and freedom of expression, with the targeted guests of children and youth under the age of 22 years.

15 July 2018 – One hundred athletes including the inspirational amputee Xolani Luvuno who ran the Comrades marathon in June, will be part of the 100 runners who will run 100 km to celebrate 100 years of Nelson Mandela in Mthatha. The run will start at Clarkebury near Ngcobo to Mandela’s birthplace in Mvezo.

17 July 2018, 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture: The Nelson Mandela Foundation will host the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on Tuesday, 17 July 2018 at the Wanderers Stadium in Illovo, Johannesburg. The lecture will be delivered by former US President Barack Obama.

Opening and handing over of Sports Facility: Sport and Recreation South Africa under the guidance of Minister Tokozile Xasa will officially open and handover a sports facility at Hlogotlou Township in Elias Motswaledi Municipality. The event will commence with an 'I choose to be active' 5km walk starting at 06:00 I n the morning to Hlogotlou Stadium. This platform will be utilised to encourage members of the community to get physically active in line with one of the values of Tata Nelson Mandela. The Minister will handover Sport equipment to local schools and sport clubs at the end of the walk.

The Launch of the National Netball Championships: Sport and Recreation South Africa and Netball South Africa will join hands in celebrating the centenary of Mama Albertina Sisulu during the launch of National Netball Championships taking place in the Eastern Cape Province where Mama Albertina Sisulu lived. The family will be presented with a symbol of appreciation for Mama Sisulu’s sacrifices during the fight for liberation. The token will be presented by Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation SA and Minister Gert Oosthuizen during the official opening on Monday 09 July at Lotto Young Park Tennis Centre in Port Elizabeth.

 17 to 21 July 2018, The Mandela Cup Amateur Boxing Tournament: The tournament will be held at Mthatha. Elite female and male boxers from Southern African countries are expected to participate in this competition. 

The South African Womens' Hockey to Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day in the UK:  The team is expected to leave South Africa for London this week to compete in the Women’s' Hockey World Cup from 28 July to 5 August 2018 and will Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day in the UK committing to the call for action.

The Department of Correctional Services will on the 24th of July 2018, launch the Nelson Mandela Rules at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre in Western Cape Province. The Nelson Mandela Rules are universally acknowledged minimum standard rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.

The launch of the Nelson Mandela Rules is expected to be attended by a number of international diplomatic dignitaries as the rules were developed as part a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly of 2010.

The Embassy of Cuba in South Africa has also organized a series of activities to celebrate the Centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela with the South African people.

Activities to be hosted by the department of Arts and Culture:

  • 18 July 2018 - Mandela letters production at the Market Theatre
  • 18 & 19 July 2018 - Memorial lectures at Robben Island and Nelson Mandela Museums 
  • 09 – 12 August 2018 The Mandela Museum will host an Arts Festival in Qunu
  • The Africa Cultural Seasons exchange programs will be themed around the Mandela’s life and legacy in Kenya, Angola and Ghana.

Social Media Activation Share how you will make a meaningful difference this Mandela day using the hashtags #Mandela100 and #MandelaDay

International Activations

Brand South Africa continues with the celebrations of the Nelson Mandela centenary through its international offices.  The China office, in collaboration with South African Embassy in Beijing, will host a Nelson Mandela Day ‘67-minutes’ activation at a Chinese school for disadvantaged children on 18th July 2018, in remembrance of Nelson Mandela.

In the United Kingdom, a six-week activation alongside the British Council Museum is currently underway: A life size ‘prison cell’ where Mandela spent most of his life in Robben Island will be erected in the National Mall outside the British Council offices so that passers’ by can have a ‘feel’ of what Mandela lived in whilst in Robben Island.

The National Museums of Kenya together with the Nelson Mandela Museum will be hosting a conference on Madiba! Epitome of Democracy, Fairness and Justice in Nairobi.

All the embassies are also encouraged to participate in the Centenary celebrations.

For more information, the comprehensive list of activities has been loaded on the Mandela webpage which can be accessed by visiting

Nelson Mandela Day

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to announce that today marks 12 days to the International Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July 2018.

This year’s 18th of July, will not be observed as a normal International Mandela day where citizens’ across the globe donate 67 minutes of their time performing only acts of good deeds to those in need, but will be used as an opportunity for us to remember the time in which transformation gained traction in our beloved country and celebrate the man who made a meaningful contribution

We ought to tap into Madiba’s values and aspirations for the type of a South Africa he would have wanted to see and ask ourselves, what we are doing on a daily to basis to be and live his legacy.

Guided by the spirit of Thuma Mina, the South African Government will not be hosting an official event to celebrate Madiba’s centenary birthdate, but have declared the 18 July 2018 a National Day of Service.

In his words, Nelson Mandela said: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”

On the 18 July 2018, the national day of service, we encourage all South Africans to go out in their numbers like never before and make this day extra special.

Follow Tata’s footsteps to make a difference by donating your time towards disadvantaged communities and inspire a positive change that promotes the culture of Ubuntu as well as humanitarian support.

All South Africans are welcomed to lay flowers and candles at any Nelson Mandela Statue, structure, school or street which bear the Father of our Nations name as a way of remembering our beloved father of the nation.

We further call on all of society on the day of service to pause their activities at 12 midday and observe a moment of silence, unity and mediation remembering “what Nelson Mandela meant to me”. At this moment if our citizens would join hands in a human chain for this symbolic act of unity it would be a fitting tribute to the man who took our country, this continent and indeed the world in his hands but has left us the mission of being the legacy he left.

The President will visit Mvezo in the Eastern Cape for his contribution to the National Day of Service which will form part of the humanitarian activities for the day.

The key word for the day is Change!!! “We should strive to change the world and make it a better place for all. It is in our hands to make a difference”, Nelson Mandela, (2009).

As we continue with the centenary celebrations of both icons, government has dedicated this year’s women’s month to deepen centenary celebrations of MamaSisulu as a selfless and courageous leader who will be celebrated for her contribution to the cause of democracy and the fight for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

In conclusion, may we strive to work together to make the year 2018 be remembered as the time in which transformation gained traction in our beloved country.

The IMC will continue to provide progress and updates on the implementation of the Comprehensive National Programme for the centenaries of both our struggle icons for the remainder of the year.

I thank you

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